wnol.info September 26 2017

Harden has 37 points, Rockets rout Thunder, Westbrook 118-87

September 26 2017, 07:18 | Van Peters

NBA MVP debate only exists because no one not even Russell Westbrook has been truly great

NBA MVP debate only exists because no one not even Russell Westbrook has been truly great

"It tells us exactly where we are", he said.

Television doesn't capture Westbrook's explosive magnificence.

With only a 47-35 record, does Westbrook still deserve the MVP award? And the boundless energy with which he plays. Yes, but that is where the "valuable" in "Most Valuable Player" comes into play. And he is the MVP - hands down. "No way, I don't believe, there's no way [Harden] would straight up lose it". The Associated Press released its awards picks, and its three National Basketball Association writers were split - one for Westbrook, one for James Harden, one for LeBron James.

- Shortly after the Thunder wrapped up their regular-season finale, Russell Westbrook grew tired of talking about individual accolades. D'Antoni's teams were swept in the first round in his last two trips to the playoffs in 2011 with the Knicks and 2013 with the Lakers. Harden is a defensive liability, while Westbrook plays at both ends efficiently.

The Rockets will be content to let Russ get his, but OKC can not really afford to let Harden slice them up.

But while Harden and Westbrook will dominate the headlines, there is so much more to this series than just those two guys.

Perhaps that's enough of a disparity to sway who you think should win the MVP vote, but it could be disastrous for the Thunder in a seven-game playoff series, especially if Patrick Beverley can slow down Westbrook offensively. "I'm not going to get into depths, but I thought winning is the most important thing". You hear that, Quinn?

Russell Westbrook's critics whine that his pursuit of Oscar Robertson's triple-double record resulted in occasionally blatant attempts to pad statistics, but this bottom-line stat underscores the value of the Westbrook triple-double.

While breaking Oscar Robertson's record of 41 triple-doubles in a season is obviously the highlight of the year, Westbrook notched a number of wonderful records under his belt this year. With 72 games played thus far, Leonard will need to put on one heck of a performance during the playoffs to distinguish himself as the sole-deserving player of the award. Who knew he could pass like this?

One worrisome trend for the Rockets entering the postseason is their propensity to blow double-digit leads.

Westbrook has now almost doubled Jordan's tally in a single season and is guaranteed to finish the regular season averaging a triple-double.

Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets won 11 of their last 17 games to finish with a 55-27 record and the third seed in the Western Conference.

Westbrook scored 49 points and hit a career-high eight 3-pointers, but failed to score a triple-double with 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Some NBA analysts have argued that not only does Harden's record-setting season trump Westbrook's record-setting season, Harden's year is one of the best in league history. He's also averaging more than 25 points per game, so he's certainly no slouch in the statistics department.

They ended the season with six consecutive losses, doing so against the playoff-bound Rockets on a night when rookie Kris Dunn started at point guard for Ricky Rubio, who did not play Wednesday, and both teams played reserve players liberally throughout the game. Thomas is just the sixth Celtic to score 2,000 points in a season and is also the franchise leader for 3-pointers (243 and counting) in a season.

Indeed, D'Antoni referred to Harden's new position as "points" guard.

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